But now one of the nation’s premier medical schools, New York University, and a few others around the United States are challenging that equation by offering a small percentage of students the chance to finish early, in three years instead of the traditional four. Administrators at N.Y.U. say they can make the change without compromising quality, by eliminating redundancies in their science curriculum, getting students into clinical training more quickly and adding some extra class time in the summer.
It is a well-known fact amongst physicians that the fourth year of medical school is, for the most part, a tremendous waste of time. Granted, you have to bust your ass in July/August of fourth year in order to secure the necessary GLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS from faculty members in your chosen specialty, but once the leaves start to turn, it's slacker time. I vaguely seem to recall numerous days where my clinical responsibilities were over by noonish and I was lacing up my shoes for a four hour session of pickup basketball at the gym.Not only, they say, will those doctors be able to hang out their shingles to practice earlier, but they will save a quarter of the cost of medical school — $49,560 a year in tuition and fees at N.Y.U., and even more when room, board, books, supplies and other expenses are added in.
Certainly, one could choose to work a lot harder, i.e. by voluntarily signing up for demanding fourth year clinical subspecialty rotations in fields like pulmonology, cardiac surgery, etc. But if you're planning on being an radiologist or an endocrinologist, why, other than pure intellectual curiosity, would you want to do that? Is it worth an extra 50 grand of debt?
At least put the option out there.